Battle Cry

Dear Scott,

Loved, loved, loved your article “The Battle for the Wall” on page 36 in this month’s USGlass magazine. Heard your speech about same at the BEC Conference. And it seems our major nemesis—an enemy called ASHRAE—has set its weapons on glass again. I think you identified our biggest long-term problem spot on, as any insightful general should do. But hey, I am a good lieutenant in the war to save our industry, so I wrote a battle plan.

Forgive me for being so forward, Scott, as I know you are the general and I a mere lieutenant in this war. But I thought about it and here are the things we need to do to combat their push. And we need to do them rather quickly, or we not only lose the battle, but the war.

Here’s the top eight things I think we need to do:

  1. Sound the battle cry. Let’s use everything from email to good old regular mail to let the industry know what we are up against. We should issue talking points about some of the most grevious parts on ASHRAE’s new proposal and invite everyone with a stake in this, to submit comments. Explain, in graphic and empirical terms, exactly what each proposed change will mean to each segment of our industry. Your article is a good starting point.
  2. Commission some weapons. In this case, those weapons would include the development of specific measures of total efficacy of a building, including not only energy-efficiency and cost, but inhabitant productivity and comfort. Nothing else can do what glass does and we need to come up with the metrix that measure ALL things that make people want to live and work in buildings, not just measures that help the HVAC.
  3. Fire ‘em. Once we have the matrices, we need to gather the data and use it on the other side. We need to change the conversation to more accurately reflect what matters. Glass will do well in such a fight, and it will also help us respond to the argument that “less glass is better.”
  4. Solicit some foreign governments. We have been fighting this fight all by ourselves. It need not be this way. Our army should include architects, building owners and designers who understand glass and will fight the good fight with us.
  5. Go on the offensive. I know, I know, traditionally we are not good at this. That’s how we ended up with heating and air-conditioning guys deciding how much glass you can use on a building. Maybe we should just take a look at all those HVAC codes and see how they like it. How much have those systems improved energy-wise over the past few years? Gee, wouldn’t some basic changes to their HVAC systems allow us to use more glass? You see where I am going here. Let’s see them play defense for awhile.
  6. Recognize there are spies among us. Okay, not really spies, but the glass landscape has changed over the past few years. There are now some enormous international conglomerates that own not only glass-related enterprises, but they also own other external building material providers. Their battle for the wall is a bit different than ours and we need to recognize that.
  7. Change from within. The next generation of the glass industry has to embrace the newer energy-efficient glasses and we have to use them. And we have to train the installers to use these new products with ease, comfort and familiarity or, and this is important, Scott, they will rebel against their use. We should be developing training and certification programs. How about an “Energy-Efficient Contract Glazing” certification program that teaches how to install dynamic glazing and PVB and then promotes those who do so?
  8. Involve the government. Hey, they give subsidies for everything from soybeans to cotton, how about some funding not only for development of these new types of glass but also for their use? Reward the owner and glazing contractor, too. This is war after all, and to the victor should belong the spoils.

Hope you don’t mind me picking up on your very forward-thinking battle cry, General. I am just trying to rally the troops.

Your loyal lieutenant in the fight to hold the wall,


P.S. Thought my post today comes across a bit tongue-in-cheeky, the subject is actually very, very important to all of us. It’s the single largest current threat to our industry and it deserves your immediate attention.



2 Responses to “Battle Cry”

  1. Avi Bar says:

    Dear Deb

    I would like to concur that it was an excellent article and my hat goes off to Scott.

    However, my interpretation was a little different. I believe the glass industry does need to work together more and we do need to educate the architects and the owners as well as the contractors and fabricators. The entire value chain.

    However, I don’t agree that ASHRAE is the “enemy”. ASHRAE standards are a response to the current environmental and economic conditions that are impending. This is well highlighted in the article. ASHRAE standards are not necessarily calling for less glass. You could interpret the standard as a call to action for the glass industry to innovate beyond its current incremental state.

    There are technologies out there that can achieve higher U values, lower SHGC and deliver daylighting solutions. We need to stop looking back and start to look forward.

    We need to break away from the Low-e and gass and triple glazed mindset. Continuing to develop old technologies will only lead to incremental improvments.

    We need radical performance improvements. Heat Mirror, Vacuum sealed units and products like our Solera + Lumira aerogel R18. We can deliver diffused light with CoG values as high as R18 and low SHGC. We are the new wall, and we are glass. Our products are not out of everyday project reach. Our products add value to the entire glass value chain and are affordable. From tight budgeted Rental high rises in NYC to Universities in Boston and Rochester, to schools. These materials are in reach and are being installed today.

    Lets band together as an industry and not fight regulation, but rise above it by investing in innovation. Our products are not the future. They are the present. They are not cost prohibitive. They add value to the designs in performance, aesthetics and human experience. These are the value propositions that we need to deliver to the architectural community and the owners.

    My war cry is perhaps different.
    Lets invest in innovation and work together to drive cost of high performance materials down.
    Lets add value and differentiate our value proposition from the wall.
    Lets put into place viable metrics for daylighting and its benefits.

    • Deb Levy says:

      Thanks for writing. It was interesting to note that, even though we had different takes on some things, we both agreed that the time for our industry to band together and act is now. The key question is “how”? And will people step up to the plate.

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